Learning Style Assessments: Definition & Tools

Instructor: Alicia Taylor

Alicia has taught students of all ages and has a master's degree in Education

Understanding and assessing a student's learning style can help teachers adapt their teaching strategies to help their students learn. This lesson describes three learning style assessments and tools for applying their principles.

What Are Learning Styles?

You're a teacher in a fourth grade classroom. Everyone is doing fairly well. Everyone except Jane. She seems like a little genius, except that she has no talent for spelling. Or science. Or composition. Or grades. Somehow, everything you say in class just floats right over her head. When she pulls The Hobbit out of her backpack, you think, ''This kid is smart. What am I doing wrong?''

Like most teachers, you have heard of learning styles. According to the theory of learning styles, everyone has a way in which he or she learns best. Some learning styles frameworks focus on cognitive characteristics, like a preference for abstract or concrete ideas. The most popular models focus on the senses, labeling some children visual learners and others auditory or kinesthetic learners.

You start to think that maybe you should find out Jane's learning style. But, you don't know which tools can uncover her style or how to use the information once you have it.

There are many paths to choose from when incorporating learning styles models into your teaching.

The Kolb Model

As you research other learning style models, you realize some are very technical. There's the original learning styles framework created by Kolb. It reminds you of personality tests. It identifies whether students prefer to, for example, imagine, reflect, experience, or analyze.

You never knew about learning styles models that didn't have to do with the senses. It's a little overwhelming, but you want to do whatever you can to help Jane. And, she does seem bored by experimenting, but loves asking, ''What if?'' Maybe she is Kolb's ''assimilator'' who loves conceptualization and observation so much?

To find out Jane's learning style according to this model, you order a copy of Kolb Learning Style Inventory, Version 4. The book contains the assessments you can use to find Jane's learning style, as well as information about how to apply it in your classroom.

Is Jane a visual learner? Is she an assimilator?
Child Reading

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